Saturday, January 19, 2013

Reality sets in and preparation picks up speed

We now have our tickets and we will be leaving Monday March 4th at 6 AM, stopover in Atlanta and onward to San Salvador, we’ll be there at 1 PM.  When we received our e-tickets Dianne and I looked at each other and it set in that “we are really going to El Salvador”.

The mission was no rash decision but as it gets closer the apprehension bubbles to the surface now and then. It’s exciting but kind of like rollercoaster excitement, not the ups and downs comparison but the excitement and dread as you climb the hills, knowing what’s next and then the “ what the hell are we doing” as you go over the hill, turn upside  and the adrenaline rushes through us. We assume that’s the Holy Spirit.

 The loose ends consisted of where would we stay before school, where will all our things be stored till we get to El Maizal, who does the visa’s, is anyone going to help us buy a car, we need to contact the U.S. embassy, can we ship things ahead of time, how much luggage can we have, is there an embargo on totes this time of year, we need to go to the travel clinic, what about our health insurance, we need to buy new cellphones when we get there and it goes on and on. The preparation has been like a snowball rolling downhill for us. A day doesn’t go by that we aren’t working on something regarding the mission. Trust me when I say, just because we have been called to do mission, the heavens have not opened up and the path made straight.  Everyday life has not stopped for us or for any of the many people we are working with us to make this happen. 

It may seem overwhelming and I am one of those people who soothe themselves by planning, planning and more planning to make sure the path is straight but it just doesn’t work that way. Don’t get me wrong, all those loose ends have almost completely come together in a matter of days but not by planning and worrying but by believing it will.

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I forget that these aren’t just promises, these are declarations of God.  I believe that when we look at it in that way, it’s easier to take that deep breath, do those countless e-mails, and make those telephone calls and the next thing you know things come together.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cleaning out and last times

There’s lots of benefits to Mission work in El Salvador but I bet you didn’t know how clean your closets and bureaus get. The reality is that we’ll only need a little more than a weeks’ worth of light clothing while in El Salvador. For men it's mostly short sleeve T's or button downs and light jeans. For women it's the same but also skirts below the knees. For a hot climate it's interesting to note that publicly you rarely see people in shorts, shorts are for around the house. Sandals, good walking shoes and one pair of dress shoes is it for the foot apparel. Besides a light raincoat, there’s no need for coats. Looking at our clothes in this way made us realize what pack rats we were and we aren’t even clothes people. We gave away 7 bags of clothes and counting.  It sure makes finding the clothes and shoes you want to wear easy J.


 As we start to pack for our trip, it becomes apparent how little we will have compared to being in the U.S.  Sometimes it’s an unsettling feeling to realize this but we bring ourselves back by remembering we might not have much but in reality we’ll have everything we need. I wonder what it will be like when we return after 3 years of living “light”.   Will we just revert back into this style, does living light stick or do you just appreciate every you have in a different way.

The other benefit, although it doesn’t sound like a benefit, is that we are doing things for the last time. I’ve gone trick or treating for the last time with my granddaughter, as a family we’ve had our last Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Those are just major events yet the feeling also applies to our daily lives. The last few services at St Francis that we value so much, contact with friends and just seeing our local merchants is coming to an end for a while.  My point is that we enter these contacts with a heightened awareness and appreciation. Everything we do we want to fully experience and enjoy, when you plan on that it’s amazing how it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.  It’s a lesson that we hope to not forget and we hope you can take it to heart.

As we finish up with the “lasts” we look forward to all the “firsts”.


Tom & Dianne